Ustadz Watteau Ibrahim. (Photo; MINA File)
Ustadz Watteau Ibrahim. (Photo; MINA File)

by Ustadz Watteau Ibrahim*

Islamic Da’wah call in the Philippines dated back to the advent of Islam in the country. Islam reached the country in 14th century. Sharif Makhdum preached Islam to Sulu Archipelago Sharif Kabungsuan for Maguindanao in Mainland Mindanao in Kutawato.
Datus of Borneo to Panay Island and neighboring of Visayas Rajah Sulaiman Chieftain of Manila to Luzon. The Muslims are described in the Qur’an as the best group of people to enjoin what is right and forbid ungodly, acts.

This could not be done except through Islamic call activities. There is no iota of doubt that the Philippines has become a corrupt country and could not be revived except through continuous Islamic call activities by Muslims.

We should also mention the need to curb secularization which has effected many Muslims. The reason for this must not be separated from the lack of Islamic education for anybody who understands the religion of Islam, would never become a secularists.

This is one of the reasons why Islamic call da’wah is very necessary, so as to deepen Islam in the minds and hearts of those who have little knowledge of Islam and who could be carried away by the deceptive methods of secularization apart from the above Islamic call is also necessary in case of some Muslims who have little or no Islamic Faith.

Islamic da’wah Call activities will encourage and enlighten them more and they may later on become learned men for Islamic call activities in Luzon for example, have different dimensions. Radio, TV and newspapers are used in Manila and suburbs to inform people of different beliefs. Islam and Muslims from Mindanao who are residing in Luzon especially in Manila and other cities of Luzon were instrumental to the spread of Islam.

There are more efforts to be done to correct the misconceptions even among the Muslims in order to present the true Pristine in Islam. In Visaya one may observe that Islamic call is done by new Muslims who have found Islam while working abroad.

In Mindanao and neighboring Islands one feels highly assured about da’wah call activities in the southern area of this country. It is at this area where many Muslims organizations strive hard for the supremacy of Sharia. Serious da’awah call work is needed here to counter misconceptions about Islam and Muslims.

Islam in the Philippines encounter several obstacles as follow:

1. Ignorance : The first thing that the caller need to equip himself with in knowledge. However some of the people who engage in da’wah call work have no deep Islamic education and therefore preach Islam with ignorance and hence impart wrong notion to people. This eventually leads to misinterpretation and misconception of ideas due to lack of knowledge and many things that are not obligatory in Islam are preached to the people.

2. Prejudice against Islam : There are of misconceptions about Islam held by the non Muslims that had led to painting Islam in a hostile color. Among these are the issues of Jihad, polygamy of the Prophet, Hijab ( Veil ) and ect.

3. Disunity of among Muslims : It is extremely unfortunate that there is disunity among the Muslims in the Philippines because of tribal sentiments, selfishness and clan war. There is an urgent need for a unified source of Fatwa through the council of scholars combining scholars from Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao to act as a unified body of Ifta for the whole country.

4. Financial Shortages : Da’wah Call activities in the Philippines face serious financial shortages. Muslim organizations which want to sincerely carry out da’wah call work, are financially handicapped as they have no source of income except small contribution they receive from donors. Zakat which should have been the reliable source of income for da’wah call is not properly collected as preached Islam. Money that were realized from zakat goes to individual causes instead of being used for its rightful purposes.

5. Manpower : Islamic da’wh call lacks manpower. Any serious da’wah call organization needs some full-time workers who work in the field. It is supposed that there should be an office of secretariat for every religious organization with full time staffs and necessary office equipments.

Solutions to the above obstacles are not far to seek in the First: all Muslims should be educated about the need to have better Islamic education before embarking on Islamic da’wah call. Islamic schools could also be established where Muslims callers could be properly trained or a regular training program could be organized to train Muslims callers.

Secondly the prejudice of non Muslims could be minimized through serious da’wah call activities that are aimed at correcting wrong impressions about Islam. Efforts should also be made to have constant dialogue with non Muslims to encourage them to correct their conceptions about Islam.

The problem of disunity among Muslims could be overcome if all Muslims strictly adhere to the injunctions of the Qur’an and Islamic brotherhood as reflected in the very words of the Qur’an: “The believers are but brothers, so make peace and reconciliation between your brothers and fear Allah, that you may receive mercy, and hold fast all together by the rope of Allah and be not divided.”

The above verses could solve the problem of disunity if only they are strictly followed since it has no geographical boundaries and tribal sentiment has no place in Islam. All Muslims, regardless of their color, race or tribe are but one nation.

Our economic Problems could be solved if we manage our financial sources. Proper Zakat houses could be introduced in every community where proper coordination can be made with rich Muslims to pay their Zakat to this house. Hence, it can be properly disbursed.

Muslims of each country could pay a minimum amount to this house towards fund raising. Foreign national grants from International Islamic organizations should also be properly supervised to see that they are used for their purposes. When financial obstacles are overcome this would give the way for the employment of call workers.

We use several ways of Islamic da’wah call and the most important of which are the following:

1. Individual call: This is a situation where approach is made to one or a few persons and not to groups apart. Most of the time it is performed without any prior planning.

2. Public da’wah call: This is a situation where the caller has before him a group of audience with the aim of changing their lives. This includes speeches on Jumaah (congregational) prayer, Eid prayers, symposium, debates, lectures, conferences, and seminars, speeches delivered on radio, television, cassettes, and other electronic media could also be regarded as public call.

3. Call through books: Da’wah call could also be made through writing of books or writing in printed media. There are many Muslims who are good at writing but are not good in giving speeches. Moreover as Islam is a religion which lays great stress on education, books should be written by Muslims scholars to educate Muslims in the field or press Muslims Journalist are expected to write to inform Muslim readers. Therefore, da’wah call through writing could be made in the form of composition and compilation articles, treatise, letters and cartoons. Islamic journals and periodicals could be used for write –ups on Islamic da’wah call.

4. Call through example: The most essential type of da’wah call is the one made through character a study of the history of past callers shows that their way of conduct and straightforward dealing with others made them stand as role models in the eyes of people. The Prophet( peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was a role model in the da’wah call to Islam the Qur’an speaks of him as follows.

لَقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لِمَنْ كَانَ يَرْجُو اللَّهَ وَالْيَوْمَ الْآخِرَ وَذَكَرَ اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا

“You have indeed in the Apostles of Allah a beautiful pattern of conduct for any one whose hope is in Allah and the final day and who engages much in the praise of Allah.”(Qs: Al-Ahzab21).

For the purpose of Islamic da’wah call, every caller needs to present a good example to others. There are principally two methods of da’wah call. These are direct and indirect methods and each method depends on individual or group of people to whom the da’wah call directed and on the prevailing circumstances .

1. Direct call, this is the call by which the caller communicates his message directly to his audience or readers verbally or in writing whithout hiding his intension. This method is commonly used in public lectures.

2. Indirect call, this is the da’wah call by which the caller does not declare his intensions in his field of operation and so adopts various indirect means to communicate Islamic values to those working with him in the field. We have to make an observation here whatever method employed in the Islamic da’wah call, we have to follow a precaution a role given in verse (QS: An-Nahl:125)which reads as follows.

ادْعُ إِلَىٰ سَبِيلِ رَبِّكَ بِالْحِكْمَةِ وَالْمَوْعِظَةِ الْحَسَنَةِ ۖ وَجَادِلْهُمْ بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ ۚ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَنْ ضَلَّ عَنْ سَبِيلِهِ ۖ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِالْمُهْتَدِينَ

“Invite all to the way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching and argue with them and ways that are best and most and most precious for your lord knows best who have striven from his path and who receives guidance.”(QS: An-Nahl : 125).
The above Qur’anic injunction states the call should be conducted with wisdom tact diplomacy, sagacity, and beautiful preaching and addition argument when there is a need for it, should be done in the best manner and beautiful ways. call should not be conducted with coercion, compulsion and extremism. (T/IBI/P3)

( Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)

* Ustadz Watteau Ibrahim is an influential Islamic Scholar from Palimbang Sultan Kudarat, Southern Philippines.